Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.” “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”
Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:35-45 (NLT)
Yesterday I shared my favorite little ditty that reminds me how God displays His gracious and loving character in my dog. For those of you who aren’t dog lovers, it’s a stretch. For those of you who have shared your life with a pooch—you probably understand.
I’m still sick and Ozzy is still by my side. There is a glimmer of hope, I can put words into a sentence today. I also ate some yummy Cheetos ™today—in my mind, they are as good as any medicine from the drug store. As I got up to get a drink, Ozzy quickly and suspiciously took my place on the bed, a move out of the ordinary for him.
Hmmm. Something was up. I asked him what he was doing and I got the sheepish look of one caught in the act. As much as Ozzy reminded me of God’s goodness yesterday, he reminded me of my selfish fear today.
Ozzy repositioned himself to eat the paper napkin that once held my Cheetos™.
The napkin wasn’t as good as the Cheetos™. It was an inedible paper napkin—a rather poor substitute.
It got me thinking. Easter is approaching. Palm Sunday was yesterday. I thought of the disciples full of anticipation. Eagerly awaiting Jesus’ move to carry out the plan they concocted in their minds. Most likely, all of them jockeying for position—some of them bold enough to ask for the place at Jesus’ right hand.
Jesus had a different plan for them. He was about to lead by example. Jesus’ call isn’t for position. Jesus’ call is to service. It’s not a call for getting—rather a call for giving. It’s a call for courage. It’s a call for trust.
You see, Ozzy had good dog food in his bowl. He was willing to trade that for some oily paper. There has never been a day when Ozzy’s gone hungry. There has never been a day when his needs have gone unmet. Still, he will lunge at something if he thinks he’s missing out.
Fear motivates one to accept second best. Distrust draws the heart away from the better and allows one to settle for good enough. Selfishness keeps the focus on, self.
Jesus calls His disciples to follow His lead—deny yourself and follow Me.
Jesus told His disciples to choose the better way—the one of servant hood.
Jesus promised His care would continue after He was gone from their presence.
Don’t settle for second best—follow Christ’s lead.
Father, help me to never settle for second best. Remind me that I can trust You. Remind me that my attempts at meeting my own needs will always leave me empty. Give me the courage to trust Your pan. Give me the boldness to serve.
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